Archive for November, 2008


October 18th is the day that I became an official member of the University of Oxford.  This is marked by a ceremony called ‘matriculation’.  The word is from the Latin matricula which translates to little list, and means in this case ‘to be added to a list’.  So, as of that point in time, I’ve been added to the long list of Oxfordians!

This is the first day that we have been made to wear our full gowns and sub-fusc:

The gown is the same one worn by all graduate students, and sub-fusc refers to the dress code for what is underneath.  For men this means a black suit, dark socks, white shirt, and white bow-tie.  And you don’t want to mess around when it comes to sub-fusc.  One of the guidebooks made an example of a student who wore the wrong colour of sock and was promptly fined 10 pounds to his college bill!!!

It was a nice day out and a good opportunity to get some photos with some of the people I’ve met.  This first one is of Matthew Albert.  Because his name and mine differ by only a few letters, we decided to distill our names down to the only parts that are different: I call him “Bert”, and he calls me “Lard”.  I definitely got the short end of the stick on that one:

This is Rebecca.  She is from New York.  Luckily we don’t have to alter our names to communicate:

There are quite a few Canadians studying at Jesus College (to my surprise!).  In fact there were seven of us starting this year.  And we represent various parts of the country from the west to the east coast.  This photo is of three of the Canadian girls:

Before leaving the college to move on to the examination schools where matriculation was to take place, all the new students of the college met in the college hall.  Just before this, a few others and myself took the opportunity for a little photo shoot.  

The first one is of me in the hall.  You can see the large portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First (the college founder) on the wall behind me.  For years this portrait was thought to be a copy and was kept in the fellows’ library.  Until a restorer saw it and found it out to be an original from Lizzie’s royal portrait maker.  It is incredibly valuable and rumor has it that in case of a fire the home bursar is responsible for rescuing it!!:

Here is a nice group shot of some of the friends I’ve made:

After the meeting in the hall all of the students were corralled through the city streets to the examination schools:


After weeks of walking around the city and being a bit of a tourist, it was a bit surreal to be part of the scenery!  There were groups of people out snapping photos of us as we walked:

Continuing along to the examination schools.  I really think its funny seeing this many students, all wearing their gowns, parading through the streets:

Once arriving we entered the exam schools through its east entrance.  If you recall another post of mine I had some pictures of the north entrance.  Well, the east definitely wins the beauty pageant:

Photography was not permitted during the ceremony, but there was not much to see anyways.  A number of dignitaries from the university marched through the room, said a few things in Latin, gave a short speech in English, and in about 3 minutes the whole thing was over.  

The short talk was actually quite informative.  Although matriculation now really only has a ceremonial function, at one time it served as the university’s quality control.  Back when the constituent colleges were responsible for their own admissions (which is now done by the various departments and faculties), the university wanted to ensure that the colleges were admitting only the best students.  So, matriculation consisted of a written and oral exam.  Upon completion (and success) one would be added to the list of university members.

Luckily for me, there was no need for all that.  All I had to do was stand there and listen.  Despite not understanding a word of the Latin, I felt very proud standing there being ‘matriculated’.  I was now officially a student of the University of Oxford.

Oh, and before I finish this post, I would like to share on more photo with you.  Here is me having some difficulty with my gown:

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